The World Financial Center used to look exactly how it sounded — the interior of the building was a labyrinth of temporary walls and the only reason anybody not working there would visit was a Financier Patisserie and a Duane Reade. There were a few restaurants in the courtyard, but beyond those offerings, the space was simply a scenic spot to relax or to take pictures in.

 

The area west of West Street and south of North End Avenue has since been rebranded as Brookfield Place, and after years of construction, the whole structure is visually stunning. The entrance on South End Avenue now opens into a luxury food market, Le District, where customers can purchase high-end produce, groceries, and gifts — for a premium, of course. Upstairs, there is now an expansive food court featuring dozens of popular eateries including fast casual barbecue joint Mighty Quinn’s and healthy (yet delicious) franchise Dig Inn. What has transformed the space and its surrounding area the most is the addition of high-end brand name stores on the first floor of Brookfield Place.

 

(BatteryPark.tv)

(BatteryPark.tv)

After walking through Le District, visitors are welcomed into a gorgeous, open space lit by windows that reach the ceiling, and across the marble floor they can see the simultaneously familiar and foreign sign of a Salvatore Ferragamo store and a Burberry location. The famous designer stores give way to more subtle retailers as customers move through the street level of the building, and they pass by the relaxed, toned-down designs of a Theory store and find themselves by the opposite entrance where they’re surrounded by beloved modern staples such as a J. Crew and a Lululemon Athletica.

 

While this might sound like the standard middle America mall, the implications of Brookfield’s clothing stores are bigger than one might imagine on first visiting. Prior to Brookfield’s opening, Battery Park City enjoyed only a handful of stores, and nearly every one of them was a grocery store or restaurant. Residents could head to one of two pizzerias or two delis for hot food, and the two Gristedes supermarkets covered supplies for cooking at home. There was no shopping to be had, however.

 

Brookfield has changed the commercial landscape of Battery Park City profoundly with its introduction of luxury retail stores. While the stores offer nothing unheard of in New York City (every clothing store in Brookfield has at least one more store in Manhattan), this first foray over the West Street footbridge might be the start of a trend. As a generally affluent neighborhood, Battery Park City has no shortage of residents with enough income to support luxury stores such as the ones in Brookfield. More high-end clothing shops could very well flourish in this quiet location, and, for better or for worse, Brookfield has swung the door wide open.

 

Have you checked out the clothing stores at Brookfield yet? Tell me here or on Twitter @BillChangNY